out and about

February 4, 2012

After the big storm, comes the big dig.  Trust me, I know…Matt shoveled yesterday morning after about 8 inches, but we hadn’t touched it since we got 8 more.  Being the good wife that I am (wink, wink), I thought it would be nice to have the driveway and sidewalk shoveled for Matt when he got home.  So, I put Chase down for a nap, popped a movie in for the girls, and headed outside.

I started with the sidewalk.  Not only is 16″ of snow heavy, but then you have to heave it more than 16″ to pile it on top of the snow in your yard.  Yikes.  It didn’t take long for me to wear out.  I did about half of the driveway and gave in.

After resting inside for a bit, the girls and I got bundled up to play in the backyard.  Fortunately, Chase took a (almost) 4 hour nap.  So, we trudged through the backyard, made snow angels, had a snow ball fight, and (my favorite part) built a snow tunnel.  It was awesome.

I did leave out our morning outing.  One of our new favorite things to do is go to Home Depot for the Kids Clinic.  On the first Saturday of the month, they have a kids craft that they can do.  Last month they made a log cabin piggy bank…this time it was a keepsake box.  Both times we met friends there and had a great time. I would highly recommend it!!

This morning while we were at Home Depot I got a text from my mom.  She assumed we were stuck inside and bored.  After I told her we had date night last night and were at Home Depot this morning, she said, “Oh, well here I was feeling sorry for you thinking you were stuck!”  haha  The plow trucks have done a fabulous job and we were never stuck.  Now, a friend told me that a few years ago Denver got 3 feet of snow and it shut down the city.  Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen again…  🙂

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We have two main themes in our lives today…walking…and winter.  I’ll start with the later.

One thing we love about Denver, is the weather.  Before moving here, we thought the winters were cold, snowy and miserable.  We were wrong.  The winters are fantastic!!  Yes, they are cold.  Yes, they are snowy.  But, they are also sunny (which makes the temperature seem warmer) and about once a week we have a 50-60 degree day. 

After living here for almost two years, last night our first big snow came.  Until now we’ve had a few inches here and a few inches there.  But, in the past 24 hours, we’ve gotten over a foot of snow…and it’s still coming down with gusto!  Grace even had her first snow day from school.

We thoroughly enjoyed her snow day.  We played (in our jammies, of course!), watched movies, did crafts, organized some drawers and rested.  Because Matt is a TV anchor and reporter, he had to go out in the crazy snow and report to all of us what it was like out there!  He enjoyed every minute, actually.

Our other “big news” is that we have another walker in the house.  Yesterday afternoon, Chase was playing on the floor, stood up, and took about 5 steps towards me.  This continued the rest of the day and today too.  So, I have to accept that he’s officially walking.  I love it, don’t get me wrong.  It just freaks me out when I turn a corner and he’s walking toward me!  I still don’t expect it…

Check out my facebook page to see videos from our day…Chase walking and the girls doing their best news and weather broadcaster impressions.  As my dad said, we just need Chase to do sports and the Fleners could do a whole news broadcast!!  🙂

 

broken

January 18, 2012

This is most definitely the hardest thing I’ve done.  Being a mommy is hard.  It’s fun…rewarding…exciting…the best thing I’ve ever done…but also the hardest. 

On Sunday, I had to watch Alyssa (our middle child) go through something I had hoped to avoid. 

Chase was napping.  I was resting.  Matt took the girls on a bike ride.  They had a blast and went two miles.  Our house was just around the corner, but Alyssa was going too fast and her bike tipped.  She tried to catch herself and hurt her wrist.

I could hear her crying as she came in the house, but that’s what Alyssa does.  She was tired, so I figured she got a scratch on her knee and she was overreacting…until I heard Matt’s reaction.  I could hear the concern in his voice and affirming her tears.  Uh oh.

When I saw her wrist, I could tell.  I’ve had my fair share of broken bones and I can almost always recognize the signs. 

Alyssa was holding her arm and making funny noises because of the pain she was in.  Matt put ice on it and then we came up with a plan for him to take her to the doctor and I’d stay with the other two kids at home.

It was hard for me to stay at home.  Being a stay-at-home mom, I witness almost every significant moment of my kids’ lives.  It was difficult for me to miss this one and to not take care of her when she was in so much pain.  However, Matt becomes “Nurse Daddy” and is almost always the primary caretaker when the kids are sick or hurt.

Matt kept me up-to-date about the process and notified me when the x-ray showed “broken.”

Immediately, feelings arose inside of me that I didn’t realize were there.

You see, I’ve broken quite a few bones.  And, I still vividly remember the feelings associated with breaking a bone…frustration, missing out on things, frustration, sadness, frustration…get the idea??

I’ve cried several times (after Alyssa has gone to bed) because I hurt for her.  I hate that she has to go through this and I want to take it away.

She has done AMAZING and has only had a few moments of crying.  But, tonight, while getting jammies on, she got frustrated and started crying.  I reminded her that I’ve broken several bones and asked if she wanted to see a picture.  Her face lit up and her tears dried up.

I was 8 and had to have my arm set out in front of me.  Horrible.  I missed summer, I had an awkward cast, and it was my dominant arm. If that will help her through this, than it was worth going through!!

As her mom, I keep thinking about my parents…all that they had to watch me go through…and just stand by my side and help me through it.  How frustrating to not be able to take away the pain or do anything but just hold your child.

Well, now I’m that parent.  Oh, sweet Alyssa, if I could take away your pain I would.  If I could have a broken arm instead of you I would.  If I could make it all better I would. 

But since I can’t, I’m going to trust the ONE who can.  I’m going to trust that God will heal you…take care of you…teach you…and show you more of Himself through this process. And, always remember, I’m your Mommy and I’ll be helping you through this…praying you through it.  We can do it together with God’s help.

 

 

 

our little pilgrim

November 22, 2011

Today Grace had her Kindergarten Thanksgiving party.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on here before, but we love Grace’s school.  It was recently named the best school in Denver and in the state of Colorado.  She loves her teacher and we’ve bonded with almost all the families in her class.  It’s fabulous.  So, because of this, we thoroughly enjoyed going to her school for the Thanksgiving party.  Parents are SUPER involved at her school, so the party meant mingling with our new friends and eating pumpkin pie.

Speaking of pie…I made my first pumpkin pie (ever) for the party.  I used this recipe from Whole Foods and was pleased with the ease of the recipe and the way the pie turned out.  I made one pie with canned pumpkin and one with fresh.  Both were great.  You should try it for the holidays!!  🙂

We’re headed back to school tomorrow for an assembly recognizing kids who read a Million Words.  Grace worked REALLY hard to finish in time and we’re looking forward to going.  I’ll post pics tomorrow.  🙂

skirt for little girls

October 26, 2011

We have been so busy lately…trips to the mountains, birthday parties, fall parties, adult parties, school, work, Etsy, hanging out with friends…if only I could keep up with this blog and share about all of these things!

Last year I used some of my Christmas money to buy a sewing machine.  I’ve always wanted to learn to sew and many of my Denver friends are really good at it.  So, I’m joining in!

I’ve made a few blankets, but that’s about it and really haven’t had the time to invest in it.  Not that I have any more time now, but I made time for it on Friday and Saturday.  I got the “itch” to do it and had some cute fabric that I’ve been anxious to use.  So, I searched on-line for a little girl’s skirt tutorial…this is what I found…the easiest skirt you’ll ever make.

The first skirt took me awhile because I’m still learning how to sew.  After working on it (with many breaks) for a few hours, I completed skirt #1.  Saturday morning, while all 3 kids were entertained, I whipped up skirt #2 in about an hour.

Here’s the result…

Now I’m going to make matching ones for my nieces.  Won’t that make a great cousins picture!?!  Now I need to come up with something for the boys…

bunny & school field trip

October 6, 2011

We found bunny!  Thank goodness…  Daddy found her in the toy room.  We had looked there a MILLION times, but   oh well.  The important thing is she was found!!!

Yesterday I got to go with Grace & all the Kindergarteners to Mile High Farms.  When Grace first heard about the field trip she said, “Mommy, can you please go?!?!”  Fortunately, a friend and I had made an agreement at the beginning of the year to help each other out with the kids so we can go on field trips, help with the parties, etc.  So, I told Grace I would make it happen…I was determined to find someone to watch the kids (even if Adrian couldn’t) because in preschool Grace never wanted me to go with her on field trips.

Adrian was able to watch the kids, so I rode with 4 other moms and Grace took her first school bus ride.  🙂

We had a great time at Mile High Farms.  We learned about corn and pumpkins, went through a corn maze, had a hay rack ride, and picked pumpkins.  I really enjoyed getting to know Grace’s classmates and some other moms better.

It was a fun day and I’m so thankful that I got to go.  Before we left the farm Grace ran up to me and said, “Mommy!  Thank you SO much for coming on the field trip with me!!!”  Melt my heart.

For whatever reason, my kids have had really thankful hearts lately.  During dinner they’ve been saying “Thank you SO much, Mommy, for making this dinner!”  The other night (while I was making dinner) Grace came into the kitchen and said, “Mommy, I am so thankful for you because you make us delicious meals.”  WOW.  I’m not sure where it’s coming from or how it started, but I love it.

As moms it’s great to see some fruit from all the blood, sweat and tears that we put into our kids.  We don’t always get a glimpse of the results of our day-to-day labor, but every once-in-awhile when we do…grab it and don’t let go.

 

lost bunny

October 4, 2011

When Grace was a year old, we visited Nana after her double knee replacement surgery.  It was around Easter time and a friend had given Nana a cute little bunny that Grace was instantly drawn to.  A few months later we visited Nana…and again, Grace was drawn to the bunny so Nana gave it to her.  From then on, Grace had a buddy…or should I say bunny.  The bunny’s name has always been “bunny” …even when I tried to get Grace to give it a “real” name, all she wanted to call it was “bunny.”

Well, in the last couple of days this “bunny” has gone missing.  We have torn the house, the cars…everything..apart to find this bunny.  No signs of her.

Today when Grace got home from school, she asked for some blank paper.  She sat down at her little table and got to work.  Before long she brought me two pieces of paper that she had decorated with “bunny missing” messages and pictures of her and bunny together.  She begged and begged and begged and begged for me to help her hang the signs on the trees in front of our house.  That way, if someone else has seen bunny they could return her to her owner.

It made me cry…seriously.  It was so sweet…so innocent…and so desperate.  And she did it all on her own.

I’ve got to find that bunny!  I’m on a mission and it’s driving me crazy.  I tore the house A-P-A-R-T tonight looking for it.

Tonight Grace prayed asking God to help us find her bunny.

Please, Lord, help us find bunny!!!

granola bars

October 2, 2011

I have a favorite cooking blog…smittenkitchen.com.  It’s “from scratch” recipes that are sometimes a bit time-consuming, but super fun and very rewarding.  As I use her recipes, I’ll share them because I have quite a few favorites.  I used to make her stuff all the time, but when Chase came along, my time for cooking decreased dramatically.  But, now that he’s almost 10 months old, I’m feeling like I’m getting a handle on life again and ready to get back to cooking and baking from scratch again!!!  I’m so excited.  🙂

Yesterday, the girls and I made her thick, chewy granola bars.  Boy are they yummy!  Not just yummy, but lick-the-plate-and-eat-every-last-crumb yummy!!!

Here is the recipe (with my modifications)…  You can also find her original recipe here.

1 2/3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup sugar                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.

Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes (it took me 40), until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.

Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. (Alternately, after about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process up.)

Once cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares. If bars seem crumbly, chill the pan of them further in the fridge for 30 minutes which will fully set the “glue”, then cut them cold. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.  

I put my individual granola bars in snack-sized baggies for easy, on-the-go snacks.  Grace is excited to take them to school for snack time!

out on the farm

September 28, 2011

Last year we went with some friends to this fun little farm. They have some fun activities for the kids, but the best part is going on a hay rack ride through the farm to pick your own veggies. It is amazing!

We were trying to find a good time to take the kids, but our schedule is super busy. So, we settled on a Tuesday since Matt is off work. Unfortunately, that meant Grace didn’t get to go because she is in school. That’s been my biggest (and really ONLY) struggle with the school schedule. I feel like if we do anything while Grace is in school, then she misses out. However, I remind myself that she’s getting to do super fun things (including a field trip to another farm!) and I can’t deprive Alyssa & Chase of fun activities during school hours.

So, all of that to say, we went to Miller Farms on Tuesday…and had a BLAST!  Another family from the Denver area was on our veggie-picking-tractor and we had such a great time with them.  We even exchanged phone numbers.  🙂  And, she inspired me to re-start this blog.  They too have family far away (in Texas!), so she’s very diligent to update their blog with pictures, videos and updates.  I’m going to do the same.  🙂

Speaking of which…here are some pics from our day on the farm…

To enter the farm, you pay per person and each person gets 5 shopping bags to fill with goodies.  We had 20 bags to fill, which is a ton of food.  Our kitchen is now stocked with a plethora of corn, potatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots, celery, melons, pumpkins (orange & white), tomatoes, many different types of peppers…am I forgetting something?!?  We had so much food that we decided to bag up some groceries for our neighbors and share the wealth.  It was fun to share.  🙂

I’ve been busy making homemade spaghetti sauce, decorating with pumpkins, and searching for other recipes.  In the near future I’m going to make (and freeze) some potato soup and salsa.  🙂  Yummy!!

 

My date with Alyssa

February 10, 2011

This morning while Grace was at preschool, Alyssa and Chase went with me to the coffee shop. One of Alyssa’s favorite things to do (and Grace’s too, for that matter) is go to the coffee shop and get hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles. We make it a special treat and it usually involves some one-on-one time with either Mommy or Daddy.

Today, while we were drinking our delicious hot chocolate, I asked Alyssa some questions…here are her answers.

What is your favorite color? Purple
Where is your favorite place to go? Target
What do you like to see at Target? the baby dolls
Who is your favorite friend? Grace
What is your favorite game to play? Candyland
What is your favorite toy? the baby doll stroller
What is your favorite cartoon? Sid the Science Kid
What is your favorite music? Bible songs CD
What is your favorite food? bananas
What is your favorite TV channel? Daddy’s

She’s such a sweet girl and it was so fun to not only spend time with her, but to hear her answers to these questions. 🙂